January 14, 2020

Something I Miss (A Writing Prompt)

First, to the anonymous reader who emailed me something to "brighten my day", HOLY COW--I am in shock, and I really wish I could send you a personal thank you. That was SO generous of you! Thank you so so much!

I spent ALL DAY yesterday going through photos and videos on my computer trying to tidy them up. I've done this before, but somehow it still gets messy. One day several months ago, I decided to start my "Photos" app on my Macbook all over, so I saved all the photos and videos onto an external hard drive, then deleted everything from Photos.

Well, when I uploaded them back onto my computer, I lost ALL of the tags, faces, names, etc. I was so upset--it took forever for me to get it how it was in the first place, and then to have to start all over?! I've been working on that a little at a time, but yesterday, I really did spend almost all day on it other than when I wrote my blog post.

[Before I get into this post, I just have to share a deal that I saw on Amazon yesterday... you know how I RAVE about my Kindle Paperwhite (it's one of my most favorite items I own!). Well, it's on sale right now for $45 off! You won't get a better deal on it, so if you're thinking of getting one, now is the time to do it. I promise you won't regret it! (And Amazon has a 30-day return policy, so if you don't like it, you can always return it.) You can read more about my thoughts on the Paperwhite here.

By the way, when it gives you the options for "special offers" or "no special offers", there is a price difference of $20. Go with the "special offers"--it's cheaper and you won't even notice the difference. It just means that the screen saver (which you won't see much of) has some ads on it. I got that one for my kids, and I wish I'd gone with the same for mine instead of paying the extra $20. Per usual, any Amazon link that I post is an affiliate link, which means I might get a small commission for referring you to it. But I paid with my own money, and I can't recommend it enough!]

Now, since I don't have anything to write about today, I picked a topic from my list of random topics: "Something I Miss".

I wanted this to be meaningful, so I really gave it some thought. And the answer I came up with is quite ironic, actually...

I miss growing up in the 80's, before the internet and social media were a "thing".

Yes, I am a blogger, and I earn money from my blog (hence the irony). However, I do miss life before the web.

Do you remember when people had to use paper maps to plan a road trip (or even just find their way around a city)? I can remember my parents using a highlighter on an atlas when we planned road trips. I rely so much on Google Maps now that I'd be totally lost without it. Yet, there was something fun about reading a map.

Remember when people wrote letters to each other and then had to drop it in the mailbox, which then took days to arrive to the recipient. And remember how exciting it was to get a letter in the mail?!

When I was in the second grade, my teacher and a teach in North Carolina agreed to give their classes penpals (if you're younger than about 30, you probably have no idea what that is). Each kid in my class was given the name and address of a boy or girl in a North Carolina classroom. Then, we would write letters to our "penpals" and learn about them via "snail mail".

My penpal was Elaina, and we actually became great friends. In middle school, she came to Michigan to visit, and then I went to NC to visit her. We visited a few more times, and she even came out here for my wedding! But it all started with being penpals, sending each other letters and packages in the mail.

I miss when people had patience. Now, everybody wants everything instantly. Even waiting two days for Amazon shipping feels like forever! My kids just don't understand the concept of waiting for things. I remember waiting a week between TV shows, having to endure commercials (which we so enticing for kids, too!), send away for things in the mail, and put items in "lay-away".

I have a lot of videos from when my kids were little, and at the end of the video, they would say something like, "Let me see it!" or "I want to see it!", meaning they wanted to watch the video I just took. Before smart phones, I had a camcorder. I don't have a ton of videos from that, but I am glad I used it.

I miss when it was simple to pick out a movie to watch. We'd go to a video store like Blockbuster and browse the genre we were in the mood for and then just rent it. Now, with Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO, Showtime, and a trillion other streaming apps, picking a video is SO overwhelming. Sometimes I just give up.

Do you remember playing cards/solitaire with a real deck of cards instead of on a computer screen? I still do play with a real deck sometimes, and I love the sound and feel of the cards. While I've converted to books on my Kindle Paperwhite, I simply cannot beat the feel of real playing cards in my hands. (I posted a video tutorial of my favorite solitaire card game on this post)

Do you remember when people looked at each other and talked for hours without looking at cell phones (because cell phones didn't exist)? Do you even remember talking to people on the phone instead of texting? I used to spend hours on the phone when I was a teenager (to the point where my parents gave me my own phone line to my bedroom).

Do you remember taking photos with rolls of film and having to wait for them to get developed, hoping that they were flattering? There weren't any filters or apps to make people appear "fake" from all the photo editing.

And speaking of photo editing... I miss the days before Instagram turned so many people into "celebrities" and then people became obsessed with how many "likes" they got on photos. I miss the days when celebrities were household names and there were few of them. Now, it seems that there are thousands of them because of social media.

I miss going outside and playing sandlot baseball with the boys in my neighborhood. I miss riding my bike for hours with friends, pretending like they were cars and even stopping to "fill up" from an old gas tank thing my dad had (I have no idea why he had it).

Remember Big Wheels? And when the front tire got worn out, the seam would crack? Hahaha. Those things were great! And parents didn't even have to watch us, because the Big Wheels were so loud, they could hear us all the way down the block.

I miss swimming in my next door neighbor's huge in-ground pool with a slide and a diving board. I used to pretend I was a mermaid like Ariel from The Little Mermaid. Mike, who lived next door to me, actually bought his old house and that's where he lives now. He hosted our annual get together a couple of weeks ago, and seeing the house brought back so many memories! (He is going to host a pool party for us "neighborhood kids" there this summer!)

I miss making Kool-Aid with an entire cup of straight-up sugar and not thinking (or even knowing) how horrible it was for us.

I miss playing in the sprinkler in the yard.

I miss looking through catalogues at Christmas time (or a couple of few months before) and circling the things I wanted. And when choosing something to order, we had to fill out a form and mail it in. Then we had to wait 6-8 weeks for delivery. No COD's.

Believe me, I love that Amazon has same day delivery on some items, but I do miss the good ol' days where patience was a virtue.

I miss the TV Guide Channel where it listed everything that was going to be on every half-hour, and it would scroll through all the channels. You'd have to watch it forever before you'd see the channel you were looking for; but you could see what was playing currently or what would be playing soon.

I miss having to share a bedroom with my sister because our house only had three bedrooms--my parents had one, Brian and Nathan shared one, and Jeanie and I shared one. I miss watching shows with the whole family, too (MacGyver was a family favorite)--not because we wanted to watch the same thing, but because we only had one TV.

I miss walking around the neighborhood and playing in the woods with friends without having to worry about pedophiles or kidnappers, because the whole neighborhood looked after each other and each other's children.

I miss playing on the swing sets and pretending I was in the circus. Lance and I were young in this photo, but as I got older, I would do flips and things to try to be like the acrobats in the circus. My grandma took us to the circus every year, and I liked the trapeze artists the best.

I miss going to the party store with my dad (I think they are called liquor stores in most parts of the country!) and him letting my little brother and I pick out a treat. We used to ride in the back of his pick-up truck, and nobody batted an eye.

I have no idea where we were going in this photo with my sister's dogs...

I miss my grandma's Christmas party, where all six of her children and all the grandchildren would gather. Eventually we started holding the party at the city's firehall--I lived in such a small town that 80% of the firemen were my relatives (including my dad), haha. I can still hear the CB radio in the middle of the night: "Station 45 to 45 home monitors...". My dad was a volunteer fireman and an EMT.

The firehall had a pinball machine with a Playboy theme and there were naked women on it. I don't remember ever thinking that was odd; I just liked to play pinball.

I really miss the smell of the firehall. There is nothing else like it.

We used to have our birthday parties there sometimes, too.

I miss going to my grandma's house in the evenings (she lived right behind us) and watching Wheel of Fortune followed by Jeopardy. She would also let us pick a treat--she had fruit snacks (there were only a couple of kinds back then, and they were SO good!) and Kudos bars (which coincidentally ended up being my first binge food).

I miss living in a neighborhood where I had lots of friends my age. We had sidewalks and all our parents were friends and we lived within a couple of small blocks of each other. I love that we are still friends today and that we get together every Christmas.

I miss Halloween, when my dad would dress in his fireman's gear and Nathan and I would wear our costumes. My mom and Gobby (my grandma) would stay at home to pass out candy while watching Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. My mom would always tell us to ask at a particular house for homemade popcorn balls--apparently, there was a neighbor who always made them on Halloween and was happy to give us a couple for my mom.

All things said, I feel pretty lucky having grown up in the 80's and early 90's. I got to experience life before the internet, and after the internet. The internet is the biggest thing to ever have happened to humanity, in my opinion.

As I was going through pictures for this post, I came across this one of my friend Adam at the airport... I have no idea what the ad was about, but it looks like it was something "futuristic" (this was in 1998):

Speaking of the airport, one of the things I miss the most is being able to go to the gate to drop people off and pick people up. It was always so much fun watching people come off the plane and looking for your loved one!

Anyway, there are lots of things that make life easier now that we have the internet (I really don't think I could live without Google Maps), but sometimes I really do wish the world could go back in time, just for a little while!


  1. Yes! I also grew up in the 80s and 90s. I have nostalgia for all the same things. Every time I watch Stranger Things I get really nostalgic, haha. I loved this post, and I look forward to reading what you have to say.

    1. I don't watch Stranger Things, but I get nostalgic very easily, especially when looking at memes on Pinterest. The 80's and 90's were fantastic!

  2. Really appreciate such a thoughtful post and wholeheartedly agree with all of it (born 1984). My mom always had Kudos bars in her purse and they were definitely not "healthy granola bars"!!

    1. Healthy granola bars! Hahaha, I'm sure my grandma told me the same thing ;)

  3. Graduated hs in 91 so I related to SOO much of this. I had a lot of the same experiences growing up and enjoyed this nostalgia. I am fortunate in that my kids have grown up with *some* of this stuff. We still play card games as a family with actual cards (blitz, pitch) and we have a great neighborhood with people that feel like family. I still prefer actual books to electronic (though I use both). My husband still gets out an atlas and takes it with us on road trips on the off chance we are without signal. Internet is nice for some things, but there are some things that will never really be replaced by it. I love that the thread of this post is often the connection we have with those around us. May we all work to regain that as the internet has failed to do this in the way we all expected it to.

    1. That's awesome you have a good neighborhood with people who feel like family. That is so rare these days!

  4. It was so fun relating to this post, and now you've made me miss it all too!!! You're a few years younger than me, I was born in 78. Do you remember The Hanson's (Mmmm Bop)? I was best friends with their cousin who lived next door to me. I played in the Mickey Mouse sprinkler with the Hanson's and they showed up at my first wedding because they happened to be in town.

    1. I totally remember the Hanson brothers! That is hilarious you used to play in the sprinkler with them. How fun!

  5. One thing I don't miss about growing up in the early 90's is having to pay, by the minute, for Internet. Other than that, I miss it, too. :)

    1. I don't remember having to pay by the minute! (Probably because I wasn't paying the bills). But I do remember AOL, and the dial up internet. That would drive me CRAZY now!

  6. Wow what a great blog entry. This brings back so many memories. Thanks for writing It! And I agree. We are very fortunate to have been able to experience life both before and after the internet. Good times!

  7. Yes! I love this! I miss a lot of those same things! My kids can watch Frosty the Snowman and Rudolph as many times as they want (within reason), and every time they do I feel a twinge in my gut because I know they'll never experience the exciting feeling of knowing that all of your friends are watching it at the same time, and the giddy conversation the next day. :/ I am SOOO glad I grew up before the time of cell phones and texting and internet. I think kids miss out on genuine relationships because they can text their friends at all hours....while we had to work for it. It's all kind of a catch 22, really.


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